Tag Archives: Ashoka Chakra Award

A Militant-Turned Soldier Who Won Ashoka Chakra

In the early 90s, Nazir Ahmad Wani was a young boy who weaved Kashmiri carpets like an expert artisan for a monthly salary of few hundred rupees. Then, armed insurgency broke out in the Kashmir Valley and soon, like most of the villagers of this south Kashmir area, Nazir Ahmad Wani and his friends struggled to find work.

Nazir, instead of becoming a militant like many teenagers those days, joined a pro-government militia led by Javed Ahmad Shah, a notorious, government-backed commander of a private militia, in late 1994 out of his free will. It was the same time when three former militia groups merged and formed Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon, a dreaded militia that evoked fear among people for their brazen and often deadly ways. The militia was created to break the back of the militancy. But in 2002, when Ikhwan was disbanded by the state government led by late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Nazir was among thousands of Kashmiri’s who struggled to find a livelihood. Two years later, he joined 162 Infantry Battalion of Territorial Army of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry in 2004, like most of his friends.

The citation of the Medal read, “Since his enrolment in the Army, Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, SM, epitomised qualities of a fine soldier. He always volunteered for challenging missions, displaying great courage under adverse conditions, exposing himself to grave danger on numerous occasions in the line of duty. This is evident from the two gallantry awards conferred on him earlier.

Lance Naik Nazir, yet again insisted on being part of the assault team during Operation Batagund launched by 34 Rashtriya Rifles Battalion on 25 Nov 2018 post receipt of credible intelligence regarding presence of six heavily armed terrorists in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir. Tasked to block the most likely escape route, Lance Naik Nazir, moved swiftly with his team to the target house and tactically positioned himself within striking distance. Sensing danger, the terrorists attempted breaching the inner cordon firing indiscriminately and lobbing grenades. Undeterred by the situation, the NCO held ground and eliminated one terrorist in a fierce exchange at close range. The terrorist was later identified as a dreaded district commander of Lashker-e-Taiba.

Thereafter, displaying exemplary soldierly skills, Lance Naik Nazir closed in with the target house under heavy fire and lobbed grenades into a room where another terrorist was hiding. Seeing the foreign terrorist escaping from the window, the NCO encountered him in a hand to hand combat situation. Despite being severely wounded, Lance Naik Nazir eliminated the terrorist. Showing utter disregard to his injury, Lance Naik Nazir continued to engage the remaining terrorists with same ferocity and audacity. He injured yet another terrorist at close range, but was hit again and succumbed to his injuries. For displaying unparalleled bravery and supreme sacrifice in the line of duty, Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, SM is awarded “ASHOK CHAKRA (POSTHUMOUS)”. He is Kashmir’s first Ashok Chakra awardee.  It was love at first sight for Mahajabeen, wife of Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, when the two met at a school in South Kashmir around 15 years back. Nearly one-and-half months after Wani’s death, Mahajabeen, a teacher and mother of two, said, “His immense love for her and fearless persona are a source of motivation for her. “I did not cry when I was told he is no more. There was an inner resolve which did not allow me to cry,” she said after the government announced the Ashoka Chakra. “He always wanted to make his 162/TA Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry battalion proud. For him, duty was supreme. He was a source of inspiration for people in our area and community,” said Mahajabeen, who is in her late 30s. An army goodwill school in the Kashmir Valley was renamed “Shaheed Lance Naik AGS Wuzur” in memory of .Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani.

Bachittar Singh – First to Receive the “Ashoka Chakra Award”

Compiled By: Shri Ramakrishna Prasad

Havildar Bachittar Singh was born on 10th January 1917 in Lopo village of Punjab and was the only child of Sardar Rur Singh. He had his education only up to 8th class, however he excelled in swimming and wrestling in his childhood.  Right from his young age Hav Bachittar Singh was a nationalist and always wanted to join the army to serve the nation. 

At the age of 17 years Hav Bachittar Singh, joined the army and was enrolled in the Sikh Regiment on 10th January 1937. After completion of his basic military training he served with his battalion in various places like Africa and Greece. He participated in the second world war also and faced the enemies in South Africa. However it was after India’s independence in 1947, that Hav Bachittar Singh proved his mettle as a soldier par excellence.

Operation Polo : 13 Sep 1948

After Independence on 15 Aug 1947, when Nizam of Hyderabad refused to join the Indian republic against the wishes of the people, India launched a police operation named “Operation Polo”, on 13 Sep 1948. 2 Sikh, the kill force of Sikh Regiment’s second battalion was given the most important task in Naldurg area, which was on the Sholapur – Secunderabad road about 19 km from the state border. Havaldar Bachittar Singh was leading the platoon.

At around 4 am in the morning, the B company of the platoon set up blockades on the road. When two vehicles were seen approaching his position Hav Bachittar Singh ordered his soldiers to fire on the approaching vehicles. There was a heavy exchange of fire but Hav Bachittar Singh in a show of bravery and leadership finally captured both the vehicles and their escorts.

On the same day enemy soldiers took secure positions and attacked his platoon. Hav Bachittar Singh with great skill and determination led the counter attack on the enemy forces. Hav Bachittar Singh was moving ahead in the face of the enemy and when he was about 30 yards away from the target, he got hit by a LMG burst in his thigh and fell. Despite in critical condition Hav Bachittar Singh, crawled forward and threw two grenades on the LMG post, and silenced it. Even though Hav Bachittar Singh was severely injured, he refused to leave the battle field and kept on motivating his men to press on the attack.

Inspired by his courage and leadership his platoon finally achieved the objective, however, Hav Bachittar Singh succumbed to his injuries and was martyred. His personal example of unsurpassed valour, grim determination devotion to duty and leadership was an inspiration to all who saw it. Hav Bachittar Singh was given nation’s first highest gallantry award during peace time, “Ashok Chakra” for his conspicuous bravery, indomitable spirit and supreme sacrifice. A college in Punjab has been named after Hav Bachittar Singh as Mahant Bachittar Singh College Of Engineering And Technology. An area in Ludhiana has been named as Bachittar Singh Nagar on Gill Road, Ludhiana to honour the first recipient of Ashok Chakra.